The MRF’s New Theory

[EDIT: The following lists changes made to the MRF Web site on 9/11/2007, deleting several of the additions of 9/10. Shortly after writing this, the MRF web site reverted back to a version from a week ago, with all the new material on filarial worms removed The full 9/10 text of these pages can be found here: ]

Onchocerca cervicalis (Horse worm)It seems like someone at the MRF was a little over-eager to share their new theory with the world. Yesterday the MRF web site was suddenly changed from cautious suggestion that Morgellons is related to Lyme disease, to wide ranging speculation of animal worms and rare bacterial infections. These new theories are rather out of keeping with the prior tone of the MRF, and this make me wonder if a new hand is at the helm.

But then today, many of these statements were removed as quickly as they were added. Did cooler head prevail? Is there some internal debate at the MRF? Why are the thought processes of an organization being reflected on their web pages in this manner? Can the media continue to give the MRF any credence in light of these unorthodox claims?

The changes to the MRF are happening so fast that you probably never noticed them. Here are some of the more interesting changes between 9/10/2007 and 9/11/2007:

On the “Case Definition”, deletions in red:

This phenomenon is distinctly similar to the mass movement of microfilaria produced by intravascular adult Filaria typically between 1 and 4 AM.

5. Musculoskeletal effect is manifest in several ways. Pain distribution is broad, and can include joint(s), muscles, tendons and connective tissue. Both vascular and “pressure” headaches, and vertebral pain are extremely common, the latter usually with premature signs of degeneration (e.g., age 20) of both discs and vertebrae. All are characteristics of disseminated Actinomyces species

4. Acute changes in skin texture and pigment. The skin is variously thickened and thinned, with irregular texture and hyperpigmentation pattern. Hyper-growth phenomena are common (nevi, skin tags, microangioma, lipomas, callus formation and Morphea). A common characteristic of infection with Onchocerca cervicalis (A filarial species).

5. Arthralgias. Frequently reported, WITHOUT ARTHRITIS. Common joints are fingers, shoulders, knees and lower vertebrae. Common in chronic Dracunculus insignis infection. (A filarial species)

On the welcome page, this was removed:

Curiously, NO serious search for parasites exists in the published medical literature

also removed, regarding the CDC:

but without a plan to explore and define the true illness they are intending to address. Although it is highly unlikely the CDC will have moved beyond the initial RFP process when peer-reviewed papers reveal the nature, etiology and solution of this illness, we are pleased they are willing to explore it. There will always be a large amount of verification and clarification work to be done as well as medication optimization.

Then the FAQ:

The actual unnamed disease represented by the Morgellons label is vastly different from DOP. A recent systematic study of similar patients has unequivocally verified infection in most with more than one species of zoonotic Filaria and all with unexpected overgrowth of a common commensal bacterium, Actinomycosis israelii. Both are treatable. The second large illness component found in these patients is indeed an episodic delusional state and a verifiable high prevalence of bipolar disease. Review of available NLM data corroborates only that the presence of delusion has been assumed the genesis of imagined infestation with parasites without ever having considered or tested for parasites. Use of even a Mattel microscope would have revealed the Actinomycosis spread, and a simple CBC and CBC will show the elevated monocytosis, abnormal red cell indices, frequently elevated calcium and low potassium.Available, but more specific tests readily reveal elevated inflammatory markers, elevated cytokines confronting chronic infection, and a chronic immune deficiency state resulting in activation of most herpes viruses, many zoonoses, and of course parasites of a still unknown number and species. Physical effects are to skin, brain, peripheral nerves, cardiac conduction, autonomic nervous system function, and hormonal effect. Debilitating subjective symptoms include local or general chronic pain, chronic malaise, and unusual but nonetheless well-documented dermal inter-plane movement of Onchocerca volvulus.

The typical skin lesions vary but fall into at least two distinct types. One consists of near-circular (about one cm) bluish colored scars that persist for decades but begin as one mm raised lesions followed by weeping ulcers. The second are eczematous-like. All occur most frequently on distal limbs or the back or face. The Filaria species commonly identified clearly create the second type lesion. The first, when lesions are in clusters, may be Actinomycosis or when not clustered, Filaria. Actinomycosis lesions may itch, but Filaria dermatoses itch with incredible ferocity.

Some physicians are attempting to treat patients with this illness, although they do not understand its cause. The disease we are addressing exists incorrectly labeled in medical texts as Delusions of Parasitosis. Because of this, cookbook clinicians will necessarily assume you are psychotic or delusional and look no further. In truth, prescription of psychopharmacological agents will help many patients with emotional discomfort…a real part of the illness. However, these drugs DO NOT address the actual parasite infestation readily treated with anti-helmenthics. Psychiatric drugs, again, do not address other components of the disease, but all may eventually respond to drugs that target the Chlamydophila species. THE LATTER REMAINS TO BE PROVEN.

As adequate funding becomes available, we are required by law to regularly post the progress and findings on the Foundation website so as each of us contributes, we can see the result.

These almost sound like the theories of George Schwartz, or perhaps Neelam Uppal. But my best bet is still William Harvey, although I think it’s odd that there is no mention of borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme). Harvey has previous given credence to a wide range of opportunistic parasitic infections based on borrelia burgdorferi infection reducing immunity.

Having looked at the deletions, lets look at something that is still there:

Is it contagious?

Science must answer that question to be certain. However, most data obtained to date strongly suggest this possibility. Its’ mechanism does not appear simple or straightforward. Suggestive data include its appearance in many family members, the finding of parasites, activation of infectious herpes viruses, and low-level identification of antibodies to various zoonotic bacterial antibodies. Many infectious agents can, of course, be transferred by intermediate vectors such as flies. But lack of these expected vectors in many regions of prevalence suggest silent inter-human transfer. The most recent strong hypothesis suggests that an inter-human infectious agent, easily spread by droplet transmission is initially responsible for creating a chronic immune deficiency state. Only such a state might account for the extreme number and types of activated agents that have become measurable and chronic. Its movement is likely silent because of the time for second-agent expression. If highly similar other chronic illnesses turn out to be generated by this initiating agent, the numbers infected are already enormous, so attempts at avoidance near useless now.

That’s rather a ramble, but I think that’s Harvey saying that it’s airborne transmission of borrelia burgdorferi , which causes a chronic immune deficiency state, which allows all these exotic parasites (the “second agents”) to infect you. He also suggests that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a lot of other illness are also caused by this, and hundreds of millions of people are infected. This tallies with his paper: ‘Lyme disease’: ancient engine of an unrecognized borreliosis pandemic? , published by Medical Hypothesis, not peer reviewed.